29 November 2012

Rwanda: National Exams Misregistration Leaves 80 Students Stranded

About 87 Senior Six students from two Kigali schools who missed the recently concluded national examinations have accused the Workforce Development of Authority (WDA) and administrators in their respective schools of liability for their woes.

Seventy seven candidates were from Ecole Secondaire de Tourisme et Hotellerie de Gasogi, in Gasabo District, while 10 accounting students were from APERWA Kabuga, in the same district.

Speaking to The New Times in separate interviews, the students from the Gasogi school claimed that they were hoodwinked into believing that they were duly registered to sit exams after their school signed an agreement with a private institution, Kigali Leading School.

The agreement, seen by The New Times, indicates that Kigali Leading School offer candidates practical and theoretical training as well as furnishing them with all the necessary equipment.

But one of the affected students, Frankson Kimenyi Manzi, said the administration at the private school informed them that they were not responsible for registering them for the examinations.

"We joined the Kigali Leading School in 2010 as private candidates. Despite the money we paid, (Rwf55,000 per term,) and three years of study, we were surprised to learn that we would not sit for national exams two days before they began," Manzi said.

"We should not be victims of the disagreement. We wasted our time and I wonder why we are being punished," Manzi added.

A teacher at the tourism school who asked not to be named as he is not authorised to speak on behalf of the school, blamed WDA for the impasse, saying they (WDA) were aware of the agreement with the private school and were, therefore, supposed to facilitate them to sit for the exams.

"They [WDA] were fully aware of the arrangement. We kept negotiating and hoped it would be successful. The candidates sat for their practical exams and as they were about to do theoretical exams, the sad decision was communicated to them," he said.

He added that WDA had in September communicated to them that their candidates would not be allowed to sit the exams, despite their insistence that the students had fully fulfilled all the requirements.

Meanwhile, the acting headmistress of APERWA-Kabuga, Eudosie Mukahigiro said when contacted that she is new at the school but said the number of the students the school had was different from the one from examination board.

"We had a list of 63 candidates in History, Economics and Geography (HEG) combination and 81 in accounting but when the list from REB came it had over 100 and 91 candidates, respectively. I was not aware of it, those who were complaining said they had been registered by the former dean of studies Valens Kayisire who recently left the school," said Mukahigiro.

She said that when the lists from the Rwanda Education Board were returned, the school refused to own up to those students whom they did not consider theirs.

However, according to her, REB went ahead and let the 37 students from HEG sit for the examination while those whose examinations were to be administered by WDA (accounting) were refused to sit.

When contacted, WDA Director General, Jerome Gasana, said that the two schools are to blame for duping the affected students. He added that they were supposed to sit for the exam as private candidates but were instead considered as full time students.

Gasana further denied knowledge of the agreement between Ecole Secondaire de Tourisme et Hotellerie de Gasogi and the private school.

"The school cheated the students that it would help them fill out forms and sit for exams; when we conducted our investigations, we found out they were not the students from the school, rather they were private candidates," Gasana explained.

"The director of the Gasogi school confessed that he was wrong and apologised; we can't tolerate such malpractice and if we find any other mistake before we release the results, we can even postpone them," he said.

He also blamed the candidates from both affected schools for agreeing to be considered as full time students yet they studied as private candidates.

WDA plans to follow up the case and probably press charges against those found culpable, he said.

This is not the first time this school has had a run-in with the regulators. Last year, it was closed by the Ministry of Education over lack of facilities, especially to impart practical skills.

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